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Glory of Jainism: Sadhvi Tarangvati

Published: 10.09.2012



Sadhvi Tarangvati

Sadhvi Tarangvati had gone to seek for alms in the region ruled by king Kunik. Having seen her peerless beauty, the wife of a rich merchant became curious to know as to what might have compelled this extremely beautiful woman to renounce the worldly life. As she repeatedly asked and requested her to let her know the secret of such a renunciation, sadhvi Tarangvati ultimately told her about her previous life.

In her youthful days, Tarangvati and her friends had gone for an excursion in the forest; there she saw a sheldrake. As she saw the bird, she remembered her previous birth. In her previous birth, on the banks of the river Ganga, Tarangini had lived happily as a female-sheldrake in the company of a male sheldrake; both of them were happy enjoying their love-game. Then sheldrake that was moving joyously along the river-banks was killed by a hunter. As the separation became unbearable, the female-sheldrake also died. But simultaneously with the remembrance of her previous life, Tarangavati became anxious to know about the lover of her previous birth. She thought that if some suggestion can be conveyed to the lover of her previous birth, their reunion might be possible. She painted the entire episode of her previous birth and placed it at the cross- road of Kaushambi during the Kaumudi festival.

On viewing the painting Padmadev, son of a Jain merchant, was reminded of his previous birth. Consequently, the two lovers who were separated in the previous birth found their re-union in the present birth; but they had yet to face a new problem. Padmadev’s economic condition being ordinary, Tarangvati’s father rejected the offer to get his daughter married to Padmadev. But Padmadev and Tarangvati’s love was too intense to be controlled by anybody. One night both of them eloped in a boat and wandered from place to place for many days. Once they were arrested by a gang of thieves and they decided to kill them for human sacrifice before the goddess Katyayani. Knowing this Tarangvati began to weep loudly and the gang-leader was deeply moved by her sob and wails and set them free; and with that started their life of wandering again. After many years, they came to Kaushambi. Having come to know about the sufferings of his daughter and having realized the integrity of their love, Tarangini’s father arranged for their wedding in a grand manner.

But strange are the ways of destiny and karma. With the marriage of Tarangvati and Padmadev, one chapter of their life was over. Their love found a sort of fulfillment. But their life had yet to seek its perfection. One evening they happened to meet a monk on the banks of the river Ganga. The monk happened to be the hunter who had killed the male sheldrake in the previous birth. He had realized his mistake when he had seen female sheldrake giving up her own life in the wake of sheldrake’s death. He had hated himself for his cruel action and had suffered immense repentance. Moreover he rectified the ‘karma’ of his previous life by setting Padmadev and Tarangini free as a leader of the gangsters in the present birth.

As Tarangvati came to know about the unending suffering of life, she accepted the path of discipline and penance. The episode regarding cycle of births relating to her life came to a close as she accepted initiation and became a nun. Tarangvatisadhvi became a disciple of sadhvi Chandanbal.a and devoted her life to spiritual attainment.

Title: Glory Of Jainism

Ashok Saha and Prathana Saha


Shri Anilbhai Gandhi (Trustee),
Palitana - 364270 (India)

Edition: 1998

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Discipline
  2. Karma
  3. Sadhvi
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